Here is our full Rogue PvP Guide for Classic WoW! Get ready to become the best Rogue on your server ;)
Ah, Rogues. Without a doubt the nemesis of all the PvP players, and yet so fun when you’re the one playing as one. If you are here, you must be a Rogue apprentice looking for knowledge on how to slaughter your enemies (or you’re one of those enemies looking for knowledge on how to counter Rogues). Have a seat, some coffee and have fun reading!
Rogues in Classic WoW are fairly unique and have numerous advantages:
- They can go into Stealth and move around invisible to their enemies. They can then choose whether to start a fight as well as when and where.
- They don’t use mana but an energy system, that ticks for 20 energy every 2 seconds at the start.
- They use a Combo Point system (from 0 to 5) which they increase on a target to use special abilities known as Finishers.
- They have a 1 second GCD on abilities, while most other classes have a 1.5 second GCD (apart from druids in cat form). They also have many off GCD abilities, making them a highly dynamic class.
- This class is based on using abilities that are powerful but have long cooldowns : learning when to use them is key.
- Rogues have incredible crowd control (distract, blind, stuns, disorient, silences, slow) and massive DPS burst.
- Rogues can see enemy traps (Hunters’ in PvP but also PvE traps) and disarm them. They can also open locked boxes and doors if they leveled Lockpicking.
- They can use Pickpocketing to gain some money from humanoid mobs without having to kill them.
- They can fall a higher distance without taking damage (so they don’t lose Stealth) and take less falling damage.- From level 20 they can use an arsenal of poisons to apply on their blades with different effects (slow, DoT, direct damage, healing reduction, cast time increase).
Rogues aren’t godlike however. To do all of that, they need a variety of reagents : rogue tools, vanishing and blinding powders, poisons, thistle tea, bandages, food, ammunition for his ranged weapon, and a mount once level 40. All of this is necessary to correctly play your rogue, and requires time, money, inventory space and organization.
Moreover, they can only use leather armor, making them fairly fragile compared to other melee classes and they’re also vulnerable to crowd control, DoTs and AoEs: this means rogue players need a good handle on their class to survive and do work. This is a high skill cap classIn short : Rogues are very powerful in PvP and PvE, have a fun an dynamic gameplay, their sneaky mechanics will be nerve-wracking for their enemies thanks to their many control abilities, impressive damage, numerous CDs and capacity to engage and disengage fairly easily. Rogues are without a doubt one of the strongest classes in World PvP and duels because they can pick and choose their fights and blow all their CDs to overwhelm their opponent.
Rogues have a variety of viable specs for PvP but 3 stand above the rest.
This spec is generally considered boring and repetitive by many Rogues. It requires you to spam Hémorragie to build Combo Points. It is good at handling your limited energy pool however, and allows you to quickly reach 5 Combo Points with no GCD downtime.
Its gameplay is more varied than it can seem, because you can adapt your finisher to the situation.
The Subtlety tree is clearly about PvP : longer and more reliable stunlocks, ability to reset your cooldowns with Préparation, as well as Stealth/speed/detection/sap bonuses. This spec’s goal is giving you a maximum of control over your adversary, quickly building your combo points to unleash a massive Eviscération with Sang froid. In party play you can also use Garrot / Rupture, Exposer l'armure / Débiter.The damage isn’t as impressive as the good old Embuscade / Attaque sournoise, but controlling the enemy is the key to victory. This spec requires a high DPS one-handed weapon in your right hand and a fast weapon in your offhand to proc poisons quickly.
As you might have figured, this spec uses two daggers, one with a large damage range in your right hand (perhaps using the +5 damage enchantment) and a fast dagger in your left hand to proc poisons quickly. Attacks from the back are improved and you can do some big numbers with Embuscade / Attaque sournoise to pressure isolated targets or finish off weakened ones.
Be careful not to be caught unawares or you will be in big trouble. You don’t have Stealth improvements and your abilities are costly. If you don’t have the initiative, getting up to 5 combo points will be a problem, making the outcome of the fight unclear.
This is however a fun and dynamic spec, although it has a significant amount of RNG. Indeed, you have a massive burst but you need to use Thé de chardon! Your goal being massive DPS without crowd control, you lack the ability to keep your target helpless for long.
Striking a balance between the Dagger and Hemo specs, 16/12/23 sacrifices some points to gain improved Sprint, a nice boost to your mobility. It’s usually played with very good gear, using set bonuses like T3’s to have a more reliable DPS and higher energy gain (which helps make up for the lack of Cold Blood).
Try to engage targets from the back or the sides.
- Always be aware of your environment to avoid being outnumbered.
- Focus on enemy casters; healers are your number one priority.
- If possible, try to be in a party of Stealthed allies to scout, attack or defend strategic points.
- Apply different poisons on your weapons according the situation.
- Enable persistent targeting to avoid losing Combo Points when changing targets.- Be wary of diminishing returns : crowd control effects are less effective if they’re used in succession : this is the case for Assommer/ Suriner amélioré and Coup bas / Aiguillon perfide).
Potions and consumables shouldn’t be used in duel because they’re not Fair Play. They’re very powerful items that can easily turn the tide of any fight. Before any duel, talk to your opponent and decide on a rule for consumables. If you cheat you’ll end up with a bad reputation.
Although they’re the nemesis of many classes, Rogues must adapt their strategies to defeat their enemies without endangering themselves. There’s no « typical » solution or rotation for Rogues, it entirely depends on who you’re facing.
In 1v1, the Rogue has the advantage because his opener will deal heavy damage to the Warrior, even despite its heavy armor. The outcome isn’t predetermined however because they can deal a lot of damage if you miss your abilities. The Rogue must keep the Warrior controlled and stay in his back.
Relatively easy prey which can often end up in a « perfect » (taking 0 damage). Warlocks can’t really deal with stunlocks. If the Warlock manages to cast a Fear however, the Rogue can die very fast. Therefore, don’t ever let him cast Fear.
the Rogue can attack the Druid while he’s in humanoid form, he’s almost
guaranteed to win. However, if the Druid saw the Rogue coming and cast some
HoTs and switched to Bear Form, this is a whole other ball game. It then
becomes a very technical and interesting fight on both sides, highly dependent
on RNG (resists or miss on their Bear stun). A good druid will cause issues and
even a good Rogue might struggle, notably because of Faerie Fire preventing
This is all about initiative and reflexes. Not the most interesting matchup, fairly random.
unlike Rogues, Mages are hard to deal with because of their control spells. This
is probably one of the most interesting matchups. If you start a fight while
Ice Barrier and Blink’s CDs are on cooldown, it’s probably an instant win. If
it’s not the case, the Mage will have the advantage because of his fairly short
cooldowns. The most reactive player is likely to win the duel.
odd duel depending on their spec. Rogues can’t keep Paladins controlled for very
long, they have to force them to blow their cooldowns early (especially Divine
Shield) by kicking their Holy spells. If the Paladin is adept at fake casting,
the fight can last a long time. Careful with Retribution Paladin, they can
obliterate Rogues in seconds.
Very RNG-dependent duel. If the Priest resists your stuns/kick, the Priest’ capacity to absorb damage and heal himself will prevent the Rogue from doing what he wants. If the opener goes well, you should be able to finish the fight quickly. If not, the fight might last long, too long for a Rogue who prefers short fights.
technical matchup for both classes. If the Rogue manages a proper stunlock and deals
with totems well, he could even perfect the Shaman. If however the Shaman is
good with totems, kiting and surviving, it starts getting hairy for the Rogue.
It’s an interesting fight with a lot of things to take into account to master
Thanks to every contributor and the following sources for helping to create this guide: Marcovitch (multi glad warrior), Wowisclassic guild member, Gossusha, Wowisclassic contributor.